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Profile: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

 
  

Positions that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has held:



 

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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Mid-1990s      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, moves to Europe where he forms al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim it is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. While in Europe, Al Zarqawi and other members of his group make plans to attack Jews and Israeli targets in Germany. [Independent, 2/6/03; Newsweek, 6/25/03 Sources: Shadi Abdallah] In late 1999, Al Zarqawi is allegedly involved in an attempt to blow up the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, Jordan, whose customers are frequently Israeli and American tourists. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Independent, 2/6/03; Guardian, 10/9/02 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official] At some point during this period, Al Zarqawi establishes a training camp near Herat, Afghanistan, which competes with al-Qaeda for new recruits. According to the Bush administration, the training camp specializes in poisons and explosives. While in Afghanistan, Zarqawi maintains contact with his cells in Europe. [Newsweek, 6/25/03; Independent, 2/6/03 Sources: Shadi Abdallah]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
          

2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian Muslim militant later alleged by the Bush administration to have ties to Osama bin Laden, is arrested in Jordan sometime in 2001 for his involvement in a late 1999 plot to blow up the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, Jordan, whose customers are frequently Israeli and American tourists. Some time after his arrest, he is released. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Guardian, 10/9/02 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official] At some point he is convicted for his role in the plot and sentenced to death by a Jordanian court in absentia. [Independent, 2/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
          

Late 2001-May 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Jordanian Muslim militant Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi flees Afghanistan and heads to Iran where he continues to run his Islamic militant organization, al-Tawhid, using telephones and a network of couriers to maintain contact with his operatives in Europe. Al Zarqawi's organization establishes another poison and explosive training center camp in northeastern Iraq in an area controlled by Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group opposed to Saddam Hussein. In May 2002, Zarqawi goes to Baghdad and has an amputation performed on his leg, which had been injured when he was fleeing US forces in Afghanistan. According to the Bush administration, Al Zarqawi stays in Baghdad for two months, during which time some two dozen “al-Qaeda affiliates” establish a base of operations in the city. The group presumably “coordinate[s] the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network.” Then Zarqawi reportedly travels to the Ansar al-Islam-controlled region in Northern Iraq, before eventually returning to Iran. [Newsweek, 6/25/03; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 1/28/03; Independent, 2/6/03] In an effort to justify military action against Iraq, the Bush administration will later claim that Saddam Hussein is aware of Al Zarqawi's presence in Baghdad and therefore is guilty of knowingly harboring a terrorist (see September 26, 2002). The administration will also allege—falsely—that Al Zarqawi is a senior al-Qaeda agent and that his visit is evidence that Saddam's regime has ties to Osama bin Laden. [Guardian, 10/9/02; Independent, 2/6/03; Newsweek, 6/25/03 Sources: Shadi Abdallah] But the administration never offers any conclusive evidence to support this allegation. The claim is disputed by intelligence analysts in both Washington and London. [Telegraph, 2/4/03]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden  Additional Info 
          

Before October 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During the trial of Jordanian-born Shadi Abdallah, it is learned that Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian Muslim militant accused by the Bush administration of having ties to Osama bin Laden, is actually the founder of another Islamist group, al-Tawhid, which works “in opposition” to al-Qaeda (see Mid-1990s). The aim of the group is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. Abdallah recounts one instance where Zarqawi vetoed a proposal to share charity funds collected in Germany with al-Qaeda. According to Abdallah, Al Zarqawi's organization had also “competed” with al-Qaeda for new recruits. [Newsweek, 6/25/03; Independent, 2/6/03] Details of the trial are passed on to US intelligence. Nonetheless, Bush will claim in a televised speech on October 7, 2002 (see October 7, 2002) that a “very senior al-Qaeda leader ... received medical treatment in Baghdad this year,” a reference to Al Zarqawi. And Colin Powell will similarly state on February 5, 2003 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) that “Iraq is harboring the network of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants.” Both statements are made even though “US intelligence already had concluded that Zarqawi was not an al-Qaeda member ....” [BBC, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 6/22/03; US Department of State, 2/5/02 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence sources]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Shadi Abdallah  Additional Info 
          

April 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant fighting against Coalition Forces, says that prisons in Jordan have become “the Arab Guantanamo.” He says: “Whoever the Americans find hard to investigate in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they move to Jordan, where they are tortured in every way.” [The Observer, 6/13/2004] Jordon is a country that is notorious for its use of torture (see 1993-2004).
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
          

May 29, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       The London Sunday Times reports that according to a senior insurgent commander in Iraq, injured Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has fled Iraq, possibly to Iran. Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings, assassination, and beheadings across Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in March 2003. According to the insurgent commander, al-Zarqawi's convoy was attacked as they were escaping an American offensive near the town of al-Qaim in northwestern Iraq in early April. [The Sunday Times, 5/29/2005] Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi dismisses the report as “amateur newsmaking.” [Associated Press, 5/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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